If you experience eye irritation, burning or itching it could be a common condition called dry eye. Although anyone can have dry eye, it is more commonly found in women and older people. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of people over the age of 65 live with dry eye.
Additionally, dry eye can be a symptom of an underlying immunologic or endocrine condition, including rheumatoid arthritis or thyroid disease because of a reduced amount of tear production.
Dry Eye Symptoms
There are several symptoms that could point to dry eye, such as redness, irritation, burning or stinging, and intolerance to wearing contacts. Some people experience eye strain or blurred vision, particularly with long periods of reading, screen time and near the end of their day.
Many have described a gritty feeling. Some have complained of randomly tearing up. The reason this occurs can be due to the tear production being triggered by the dry and/or gritty feeling.
Dry Eye Treatments
Because of the various symptoms of dry eye and a great amount of discomfort, it can have a large impact on quality of life. However, there are many treatments to offer relief. For instance, there are various eye drops available over the counter, or your eye doctor may prescribe a prescription strength medication.
Then there are other procedures that can be offered. Below are a couple options.
LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System
This uses a combination of peristaltic motion and heat, helping remove any blockages in the glands. Because procedures like this work by unblocking the tear production glands, patients often get symptom relief. It is considered a minimal invasive treatment. The treatment is done in an office setting.
This is a procedure that uses small energy pulses to nasal cavity nerves, innervating signals to the brain that are then sent back to the tear glands. This works by giving temporary stimulation to provide a natural tear production. It is also considered a minimal invasive treatment. Treatment is done in an office setting.
Other Ways to Reduce Dry Eye
There are various ways you can try to reduce or eliminate dry eyes yourself. The first thing to consider is your environment and what you can change, such as avoiding environments with smoke. If you are in a dry room most of the day, try using a humidifier to provide moisture to the air around you.
Diet modifications can help too, from eating omega-3 fatty acid foods (almonds, flaxseed, fish, etc.) to drinking more water.
If you still experience dry eye symptoms, you an try the various lubrication ointments or artificial tear drops available. Many eye doctors will recommend trying some of these before more expensive or invasive treatment options.